Florio, Caril (real name, William James Robjohn)

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Florio, Caril (real name, William James Robjohn)

Florio, Caril (real name, William James Robjohn), English-American composer; b. Tavistock, Devon, Nov. 2, 1843; d. Morganton, N.C., Nov. 21, 1920. He was taken to N.Y. when he was 14 and held various posts as a church organist and choirmaster. In 1862 he took up acting and toured throughout the North. In 1868 he returned to N.Y. and was active as a pianist, conductor, teacher, critic, and music ed. In response to his family’s opposition to a career in music, he adopted the pseudonym Caryl Florio in 1870. From 1896 to 1901 he was head of the musical establishment at the Vanderbilt estate near Asheville, N.C. In 1903 he settled in Asheville as a teacher and choral conductor. He publ. A Textbook of Practical Harmony (1892). His works reveal a British-German derivation, but are not without interest.


DRAMATIC Le tours de Mercure, operetta (1869); Inferno, burlesque (1870); Gulda (1879; unfinished); Suzanne, operetta (1879; unfinished); Uncle Tom’s Cabin, opera (1881–82; Philadelphia, 1882); incidental music. ORCH.: Marche desfees (1870); Reverie and Scherzo for 2 Clarinets, Violin, Cello, and Strings (1872); Piano Concerto (1875–86; rev. 1915); Marche triomphale (1878); Introduction, Theme, and Variations for Alto Saxophone and Orch. (1879; unfinished); 2 syms. (No. 2 based on the 1st String Quartet); 2 overtures. CHAMBER: Piano Trio (1866); Aspiration, romanza for String Quartet (1872); 3 string quartets (1877, rev. 1887; 1878, rev. 1893; 1886, unfinished); Horn Quartet (1877); Saxophone Quartet (1879); Quintet for Piano and Saxophones (n.d.); Violin Sonatine (1902–03); 2 violin sonatas; piano pieces, including 2 sonatas and Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral March (1865); organ music. VOCAL: The Song of the Elements, cantata (1872); The Crown of the Year, cantata (1887); Christmas Past and Present (1889); The Night at Bethlehem (1891); anthems; part songs; solo songs.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire